Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Hen In My Backyard..

So there’s this saying, that home cooked chicken (Ghar ki murgi) tastes no better than ordinary lentils (daal barabar)! Wonder if Daniel Weber would agree. Or Amey Gosavi..

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I had just received a mail, extolling my blog posts, and generally going ga-ga over what a `wow’ writer I was! Admittedly, the adjectives used to describe my turn of phrase were way over the top, and much more than the blog deserved.

It’s not to say I wasn’t pleased as punch. Of course I was blown away, and asked the wife and kids why they didn’t offer similar praise. Their reactions varied from a derisive snort (no guessing who) to a coquettish `Aww’ (Sowmya) to his signature shrug of the shoulders (Sid). Puja said she’d read the mail and revert.

Translated into plain English, that only meant that while the posts were no doubt good, they were, for them, in the end, no more than home cooked chicken – ghar ki murgi!

Can’t blame the poor sods. Remember Mrs Graham Bell? Her reaction to Alexander announcing that he had just invented telephony was an exasperated “Put away those toys dear, and come to bed!”

You think Edison was feted as the `Wizard of Menlo Park’ at home? Perish the thought! He was curtly told to switch off the incandescent lamp that he had just invented, and `come to bed!’

Mrs Einstein, on seeing the magic formula E=mc2, merely wondered how any man could earn a living through the haphazard scrambling of just three letters of the alphabet! ‘Whatever, dear, just come to bed!”

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, arguably the greatest vocalist of his generation, had just composed a new raga, and offered to hum it for his son. “Dude, maybe some other time?” said Joshi Junior, not taking his eyes off his iPad.

So I was actually in exalted company.

Of course, like all wise sayings, this one also originates from the kitchen, and the culinary skills of the `hen’ in question.

Is there a man with soul so dead
Who, to his wife has never said
When Mrs X cooks, only then I be fed…

So here I was, at this friend’s place, slobbering over the prime ribs Mrs X (name changed to protect her well being) had conjured up. Along with the creamiest mashed potatoes, a few stray greens, and a barbeque sauce that was to die for!

The `Oohs’ and the `Aahs’, the wows and the whistles as I licked my fingers, swooning in delight, were sounds one normally associates with low grade porn movies! I kid you not, I was in epigastric heaven!

My wife kicked me under the table. I ignored her. Mr X (name changed to protect my well being) glared at me across the table. I ignored him. It was me, and the ribs, one on one. We had established a connect, and would brook no intrusion!

Mr X, to whom the whole meal was no more than `home cooked chicken’ (or in this case, pork) couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about. Snorting, in between generous helpings of the mashed potatoes, he roundly chided me for going overboard.

I continued to lick my fingers. Nary a trace of the barbeque sauce was spared. When they were as clean as to have made my mother proud, only then did I deign to look up.

“You were saying?” I said.

Then of course there are the vegans, or even some die hard Punjabis who love their `mah-di-dal’ - slow cooked overnight over a charcoal angheeti, then smothered in cream and butter – as the ultimate companion to the ubiquitous tandoori roti, with slivers of onion and mooli that pass for salad (`slaaad’ lyaayin, yaar!) in the dhabhas that dot Sher Shah Suri’s Grand Trunk Road.

Yes, the chicken versus daal debate is real. So the Parsis, geniuses that they are, simply merge the two, and come up with `Chicken dhansaak’! Makes us all feel rather silly, doesn’t it?

An aside here. We were attending Amrita’s wedding reception at JW Marriott, and happened to share a table with the delectable Sai Tamhankar (of `Hunterr’ fame). Seated next to her was a dark, dishevelled, uncouth looking guy with a straggly beard. Dismissing him as no competition whatsoever, I chatted up Sai, turning up my charm to overdrive, when she waved her pretty hand expansively “Meet my husband,” she says pointing to the guy in question.   

Turns out he was Amey Gosavi, a rich money-bags from the Marathi film industry. If looks could kill, I’d have decimated, decapacitated and de-boned the guy in five seconds flat. Talk of life being unfair! Talk of home cooked chicken! Talk of `ghar ki murgis’!

Which brings me back to the question I started with. Does the `ghar ki murgi’ always taste like daal? Would Daniel Weber agree?

Daniel who, you ask? The hen in his backyard, the murgi in his ghar happens to bear the name Sunny Leone!

I mean seriously, where’s a rope and a ceiling fan when you really need one??

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Horn NOT Ok, Please!!

After the ban on beef and the insistence on screening of Marathi movies, the Maharashtra Govt has now banned the ubiquitous `Horn OK Please’ that stares at you from behind most trucks!

Reason? It makes people honk all the more! Seriously! What will they ban next? `Buri nazar wale, tera muh kala!’ because it’s racist??

Of course, we honk like our lives depend on it. We are truly the `horniest’ nation on earth, going by the incessant cacophony on our roads.

An aside here. Durex, that maker of luxury condoms, in a recent survey, has ranked India the 8th most `sexually satisfied’ nation on earth! How the f@£$ did they arrive at that dubious conclusion? By totaling the sales of their products plus pills plus spermicidal creams?? Am I missing something here??

There, now I’ve gone way off topic! Horny so-and-so! Come back, you ill begotten son of a what-not…

No `Horn OK Please’ now? Seriously?? After the decades it took me to figure out what this pithy slogan really meant (Want to overtake me? Horn loudly as you do so, ok? - Please!).

Good men have made hobbies, even careers out of recording, if not actually authoring the verses one sees behind trucks, busses and rickshaws.

If any of you have seen the hilarious, rib tickling, rip roaring Pakistani stage drama `Bakra Qishton Pe', you will remember Professor Nizami’s sher-o-shayairi competition  with his neighbour Mirza.

Mirza asks him "Tum ne kitne deewan padhay hain?"

The professor replies "Sher-o-shaiyari jaan ne ke liye deewan padhna zaroori nahin hai - truck padho, rickshaw padho, bus padho!"

Of course, Delhi is the most culturally bereft city in the country. Sad, considering that the likes of Meer, Ghalib and Zouk once habited its courts. The hordes of Punjabi jats that descended on it after partition completely crushed its fragile culture beyond recognition.

So once where you reveled in a

Zameen-e-chaman gul khilati hai kya kya
Badalta hai rang aasmaan kaise kaise,

behind a truck, today all you get to see in Delhi is a `Sonu te Pinky di gaddi'.

Where indeed have the mighty fallen..

Yet, here are some gems that I’ve managed to pick up in my travels – mostly along Sher Shah Suri’s Grand Trunk Road..

`Ameeron ki zindagi, fruit aur cake pe,
Driver ki zindagi clutch aur brake pe!’

Anyone familiar with Delhi’s traffic and obnoxious drivers will easily identify with

Kaun kehta hai ke maut aayegi aur main mar jaoonga,
Main toh Dilli ka driver hun, cut maar ke nikal jaaonga!

And here are some from Pakistan..

Yeh jeena bhi ko jeena hai? 
Jhelum ke aage Dina hai!
(Dina is a village about 20 Km ahead of Jhelum)

Itna dubla ho gaya hun sanam tumhari judaai se
Ke khatmal bhi kheench le jaate hain mujhe chaarpai se

Kis kadar khush nazar aate hain mere shehar ke log
Aaj akhbaar na padhaa ho kisi ne jaise.

Ya Ilahi kya ghazab hai, khat ka aana bandh hai
Ya mohabat kam hui hai, ya dak khana bandh hai

Ya Ilahi, tujhe maloom hai, nahi dekh sakta apni biwi ka bewa hona
Wo jo mar sakti hai mere liye, mujhe manzoor us ki khatir randwa hona

Aadmi aadmi ko dans raha hai
Saamne saamp baitha hans raha hai

Kismat azma chuka hun, kismat azma raha hun
Kisi bewafa ki khatir rickshaw chala raha hun

Na jawan hotay na dil lgatay,
Na karte muhabbat, na rikshaw chlatay

Sawaari pichhay Kareena Katrina,
Driver aggay Paseena Paseena

Or the simple but oh so effective `Aag lawaan teri majbooriyaan nu!!'

Professor Nizami was absolutely spot on. For true shayari, you don’t need to pore over the deewans of the greats. Just read buses, trucks and rickshaws!

Irrespective of what Mr Phadnavis decrees, Horn will always be OK, Please!!